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A Question of Ethics. Fake Resumes.

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
A friend and I are having a debate.

Obviously, it completely unethical to create fake credentials (attached to your real name) in order to get hired for a job.

But, I think it's not unethical bogus applications with different names, genders, races, ages/dates of employment/diplomas, NOT to get a job, but to see if the job search (generally or specifically) is bias or some group is being discriminated against. My friend said this was completely unethical, but I don't think it is, because you are not purporting YOURSELF to have certain credentials or characteristics that you don't have in order to obtain a job. You're creating entirely imaginary candidates, for purpose of study, not for purpose of getting a job.

What do ya'll think?
post #2 of 22
If you are a journalist doing it as an investigative report and reported honestly on the results they I say go for it. If not then you are wasting everyones time including your own.
post #3 of 22
Its a form of deception so one can say it is unethical.

I really don't see a problem with what you are doing since most employers are very unethical when it comes to job posting and hiring practices. Its a good way to test different resume styles and resume content (i.e., see what works). No employer will give you any feedback nowadays.

Finding a job is very difficult in some job markets and what you are doing is preventing you from banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why potential employers aren't calling (e.g., because they were looking for a minority candidate...).

While we are on the subject of ethics. Is it unethical to change your job description to something that describes what you actually do?

For example, if your official title is PC Support Specialist, but your job day-to-day responsbility is a Network Admin is it okay to change your job title on your resume to match what you do? I think it fine as long as you don't inflat your responsiblities to match your title.

Dave
post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

Its a form of deception so one can say it is unethical.

I really don't see a problem with what you are doing since most employers are very unethical when it comes to job posting and hiring practices. Its a good way to test different resume styles and resume content (i.e., see what works). No employer will give you any feedback nowadays.

Finding a job is very difficult in some job markets and what you are doing is preventing you from banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why potential employers aren't calling (e.g., because they were looking for a minority candidate...).

While we are on the subject of ethics. Is it unethical to change your job description to something that describes what you actually do?

For example, if your official title is PC Support Specialist, but your job day-to-day responsbility is a Network Admin is it okay to change your job title on your resume to match what you do? I think it fine as long as you don't inflat your responsiblities to match your title.

Dave

If you think that your responsibilities don't match your job description, then you ought to talk to your supervisor and have them re-classify your job with the new title.

The problem of putting "Network Admin" on your resume when that is not your actual title is that different people have different expectations of such a position. Perhaps your supervisor disagrees that you actually do the work of a NA. If this is the case, and your potential new employer asks your current supervisor about your work as their NA, you're going to look like a liar when your current supervisor tells your new employer that you're only a Support Specialist, and that, while you do some NA tasks, calling yourself an NA is going a little far.

You would do better to give your actual title and explain that most of the tasks you perform are those of an NA.
post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denton View Post

If you think that your responsibilities don't match your job description, then you ought to talk to your supervisor and have them re-classify your job with the new title.

The problem of putting "Network Admin" on your resume when that is not your actual title is that different people have different expectations of such a position. Perhaps your supervisor disagrees that you actually do the work of a NA. If this is the case, and your potential new employer asks your current supervisor about your work as their NA, you're going to look like a liar when your current supervisor tells your new employer that you're only a Support Specialist, and that, while you do some NA tasks, calling yourself an NA is going a little far.

You would do better to give your actual title and explain that most of the tasks you perform are those of an NA.

Unfortunately, in a corporate environment job titles and job descriptions are often outdated and don't match current responsiblities. These titles and descriptions are set by corporate HR. It easier to move mountains than change these things sometimes.

If you maintain servers and provide network administration support, then you not going out on a limb and call yourself a network administrator. Especially, since if your responsiblities match what the qualifications posted (remember, I don't condone inflating your responsbilities).

In the real world, HR only glances at your resume for a couple of seconds. Being dismissed over a job title is a pathetic reason to get passed over, but it happens.

At my company, my supervisor is unable to give any kind of reference for me or my performance. In fact, HR will only state when I started and when I left. They won't even identify my job title much alone how hard I work.

In my part of the country, there is a bank that has job titles of HB Level 4. The positions are usually programmer related, but putting HB Level 4 on a resume is laughable.

Just my two cents.

Dave
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by icfireball View Post

But, I think it's not unethical bogus applications with different names, genders, races, ages/dates of employment/diplomas, NOT to get a job, but to see if the job search (generally or specifically) is bias or some group is being discriminated against. My friend said this was completely unethical, but I don't think it is, because you are not purporting YOURSELF to have certain credentials or characteristics that you don't have in order to obtain a job. You're creating entirely imaginary candidates, for purpose of study, not for purpose of getting a job.

What do ya'll think?

Just consider what negative consequences it might have. Clearly, you're going to end up wasting some amount of someone's time. If it's a large organization it's probably not a big deal at all, but if it's a small company where people don't have all day to look through resumes then it could be a huge PITA for them. The biggest problem I see is that you could be clogging the tubes a little for real candidates, some of whom may really want the job and might get somehow screwed over in some sort of unpredictable way. It's hard to tell, though.

Just without giving it too much thought I don't think it's a big problem to do it with a large company.
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

Unfortunately, in a corporate environment job titles and job descriptions are often outdated and don't match current responsiblities. These titles and descriptions are set by corporate HR. It easier to move mountains than change these things sometimes.

If you maintain servers and provide network administration support, then you not going out on a limb and call yourself a network administrator. Especially, since if your responsiblities match what the qualifications posted (remember, I don't condone inflating your responsbilities).

In the real world, HR only glances at your resume for a couple of seconds. Being dismissed over a job title is a pathetic reason to get passed over, but it happens.

At my company, my supervisor is unable to give any kind of reference for me or my performance. In fact, HR will only state when I started and when I left. They won't even identify my job title much alone how hard I work.

In my part of the country, there is a bank that has job titles of HB Level 4. The positions are usually programmer related, but putting HB Level 4 on a resume is laughable.

Just my two cents.

Dave

Quite good points. You're probably right: it's not worth the effort.
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by giant View Post

Just consider what negative consequences it might have. Clearly, you're going to end up wasting some amount of someone's time. If it's a large organization it's probably not a big deal at all, but if it's a small company where people don't have all day to look through resumes then it could be a huge PITA for them. The biggest problem I see is that you could be clogging the tubes a little for real candidates, some of whom may really want the job and might get somehow screwed over in some sort of unpredictable way. It's hard to tell, though.

Just without giving it too much thought I don't think it's a big problem to do it with a large company.

I am not understand your argument? Whether the company is big or small the only thing is wasted from a company's perspective is a phone call to set up an interview...

If a company is looking for a minority to fill a particular position or someone right out of college or whatever, I would like to know that is the reason, and not because of my experience and credentials.

Dave
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

I am not understand your argument? Whether the company is big or small the only thing is wasted from a company's perspective is a phone call to set up an interview...

Sorting through resumes is a major PITA. If you have a lot of applicants for a position (my last workplace, a large organization, regularly received over 100 resumes for even the lowest level positions), the whole process of whittling down the resumes gets fairly involved. Sometimes HR people will sort through them and then pass a subset on to the hiring manager. Even then, we regularly had discussions about candidates before deciding who to call in for an interview.

In smaller companies like startups, the people who sort through resumes are not HR people, they are people who have better things to do than read through fake resumes and waste time discussing them with colleagues before calling the fake applicant.
post #10 of 22
I don't see a problem at all!!! I once did this to test if a particular recruitment agency was discriminating against me so I changed the name on my CV and they got back right away! Remember, it's perfectly legal to change your name and you're only required to state your actual registered name in certain circumstances where you agree to do so (ie filling in a tax form or stat dec or something). So at some stage they might find out it's not your real name but just say you're thinking of changing it. They can't fire you because you supplied a different name to them on your CV, if they try take them to court and file for unlawful dismissal!

post #11 of 22
It is legal to change your name but not with the intent of deceiving anyone. That's illegal (your state's laws may vary blah blah blah).
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by mydo View Post

If you are a journalist doing it as an investigative report and reported honestly on the results they I say go for it. If not then you are wasting everyones time including your own.

Well put: not unethical, but certainly immoral. HR departments aren't free.

On the flip side, some of the guys in HR are my drinking buddies, and they can hunt-down personal information like a pack of wolves. I'm willing to bet than any half-decent HR department, in the modern era, would be on to the prank / investig-a-tig-a-tory report.
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post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by giant View Post

Sorting through resumes is a major PITA. If you have a lot of applicants for a position (my last workplace, a large organization, regularly received over 100 resumes for even the lowest level positions), the whole process of whittling down the resumes gets fairly involved. Sometimes HR people will sort through them and then pass a subset on to the hiring manager. Even then, we regularly had discussions about candidates before deciding who to call in for an interview.

In smaller companies like startups, the people who sort through resumes are not HR people, they are people who have better things to do than read through fake resumes and waste time discussing them with colleagues before calling the fake applicant.

I know exactly what you are talking about. This whole job application thing is one big weird thing. I've been on both sides of the sword, so to speak. When applying for jobs, I see HR/Admin/Reception as just one big block of brick wall I'd like to smash... usually I manage to sneak around it. When sifting for replacements for me, it is bloody tragic seeing all the people that are inbetween jobs or out of work looking for stuff, and you can instantly tell those who are randomly applying for whatever turns up in the 100 results of their monster.com or equivalent job website search. \

There is some signal in the noise though, and generally that gets the right things happening. But like dating, job hunting I feel is just... pretty damn unpredictable sometimes.
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

Unfortunately, in a corporate environment job titles and job descriptions are often outdated and don't match current responsiblities. These titles and descriptions are set by corporate HR. It easier to move mountains than change these things sometimes.

If you maintain servers and provide network administration support, then you not going out on a limb and call yourself a network administrator. Especially, since if your responsiblities match what the qualifications posted (remember, I don't condone inflating your responsbilities).

In the real world, HR only glances at your resume for a couple of seconds. Being dismissed over a job title is a pathetic reason to get passed over, but it happens.

At my company, my supervisor is unable to give any kind of reference for me or my performance. In fact, HR will only state when I started and when I left. They won't even identify my job title much alone how hard I work.

In my part of the country, there is a bank that has job titles of HB Level 4. The positions are usually programmer related, but putting HB Level 4 on a resume is laughable.

Just my two cents.

Dave

Agreed. Admittedly, to continue my HR-bashing, all HR Depts. usually know are antiquated job titles, buzzwords, and vagaries of job responsibilities and tasks. The amount of time wasted on even refining or deciding on positions at medium to large enterprise is mind-blowing.

And yes, if all you can get for references is the HR saying when you started and when you left, you're screwed. You need a personal letter of reference usually from specific managers.

Don't get me started on so-called "appraisals".

But this is me. Rebel without a cause. On the inside fighting the outside looking back inside trying to get outside.
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

Agreed. Admittedly, to continue my HR-bashing, all HR Depts. usually know are antiquated job titles, buzzwords, and vagaries of job responsibilities and tasks. The amount of time wasted on even refining or deciding on positions at medium to large enterprise is mind-blowing.

I never understood why this is? Job titles should be up to department managers, not HR people. HR people should define pay grades not job titles.
post #16 of 22
A lie is never ethical. I wish I were surprised the question was even considered seriously.
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

I never understood why this is? Job titles should be up to department managers, not HR people. HR people should define pay grades not job titles.

HR gets involved with job titles I think for two reasons. The first is to cover the company's ass by generalising the position so that, second reason, it is easier to hire, fire, retrench/layoff, promote, demote, etc. for the position... My experience of my about 9 years of working part/fulltime in several different cities.
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Taskiss View Post

A lie is never ethical. I wish I were surprised the question was even considered seriously.

If it is a reputable documentary-making team (hard to find, I know), or okay, some sort of "expose" piece, then I would say these kind of tests may be useful to society and the business world, though of course it is in general very hard to justify really sensationalist journalism.

Individually yes I am surprised one would actually consider to use different names, etc.

What I would say is 100% okay is to change the style of your resume. Actually, it is a pretty interesting idea - try many different styles (different mission statement, cover letters, the way you structure (but do not outright hide or fudge your age and important details) your resume.

Ultimately what I will say is karma will catch up with you. If you try too hard and get the job, you'll find the job too hard.
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by icfireball View Post

A friend and I are having a debate.

....

What do ya'll think?

I think it's all good as long as you report back to us what results you get...
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post #20 of 22
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Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post

Well put: not unethical, but certainly immoral.

OK, I'm gonna need help with the definitions here.
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post #21 of 22
Here is a question for everyone...

On your resume, do you list all the positions that you held with a particular employer or just identify your current/last position?

For example, if you were an analyst for 2 years and then was promoted to a senior analyst where you held the position for 1 years. On your resume, do you list only your senior analyst position (thus giving the impression that you held the position longer than what you did) or do you list both?

Just curious.
post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

Here is a question for everyone...

On your resume, do you list all the positions that you held with a particular employer or just identify your current/last position?

For example, if you were an analyst for 2 years and then was promoted to a senior analyst where you held the position for 1 years. On your resume, do you list only your senior analyst position (thus giving the impression that you held the position longer than what you did) or do you list both?

Just curious.

I think you should give time frames for the position. Sorry.

But it is not such a bad thing. It can look good that you were thought well enough of by your superiors that you were promoted.
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